HTRK, Friday November 25 - St Michael’s Uniting Church
In March this year, HTRK's original bassist Sean Stewart committed suicide. However six months later, the band continued as a duo and released their second album Work (work, work). The band hadn't toured their town-of-origin for five years, though have now returned to Melbourne and with the help of Mistletone (who were also celebrating their 5th birthday), St Michael's Uniting Church played host to a different kind of religious experience for Melbourne Music Week, donating its altar to a night of calculated chaos.
The duo, Nigel Yang and Jonnine Standish stood calm in from of the regimented pews filled with the silent congregation, opening with Fascinator; from their 2009 debut Marry Me Tonight. The room immediately filled out with distorted sound, as if filling up with smoke. Standish's vocals sounded almost angelic against the grind of synthesizers pulsating distorted sounds, bouncing off the high ceiling. Eat Yr Heart took on an even larger life form; sinister and confronting, the heavier synthesized melodies shook the floor. Skinny was slightly more subtle, slinking along in the form of undulating synthesiser and static outbursts.
Jonnine's voice gently floated around the room, contrasting with the knives of sharp, nasty sound piercing though. What HTRK produced in front of everyone was incredibly challenging; unwavering noise that pounded the walls, Standish and Yang looking completely unperturbed by the havoc they were creating.
I often found myself forgetting to breath, completely distracted by the contrast between the calm of the musicians and the pandemonium of music they performed. Each song had the tendency to blend into the other, often creating one giant mesh of songs and sound. For some this could detract, getting lost between songs, however it played out like a film score, the erratic display of lights emphasising the ethereal film set.
BY ALEXANDRA DUGUID
LOVED: Jonnine's black and red jumpsuit.
DRANK: Sacramental wine/Jesus' blood.